Umami Mart Barware
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I don't know what got into me this weekend. I am a proud carnivore. I cannot live without meat, and I don't even care if it's "organic" or not. Food Nation didn't scare me enough to eat only grass-fed beef or cage-free chicken. I will pretty much eat whatever meat parts are served in front of me (except for internal organs). But this weekend, I made a lot of vegetable dishes. I really don't know why. Maybe the oncoming Rapture made me want to eat healthy for one entire day.

When you get Japanese cucumbers (pictured below), it's very tempting to just eat them as is dipped in Kewpie mayo, but hold that.  One of the Japan's most loved pickles, kyuri no kyu-chan (very crunchy, sweet, pickled cucumbers) are very easy to make at home. If you can't get Japanese cucumbers, you can definitely substitute them with Persian, or the seedless variety. I think Japanese cucumbers have the best skin texture for this recipe, though. I used eight of them for this recipe.

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Cut them up into about half-inch pieces.

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Lay them on a cookie sheet in ONE SINGLE LAYER!

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Air dry this way for about a day.

Freshly cut cucumber:

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Wrinkled up, dried cucumbers after being air-dried for a day:

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Mix 300ml soy sauce, 200g sugar (light brown sugar works best, but regular sugar is fine too), 60ml rice vinegar. Boil altogether. Meanwhile, cut ginger into very thin strips. Once the liquid boils, turn the heat off, dump dried cucumbers and ginger. Wait until it gets to room temperature.

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Once the cucumbers cool down to room temp, take cucumber/ginger out of the liquid, set aside, and boil the liquid again. When it boils, take it off of the heat, then dump cucumbers back into the liquid. The idea is to soak cucumbers into the hot liquid without actually cooking it. Wait until it cools, and that's it.

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Air drying for a day makes them super crunchy, and the sweet vinegar liquid is very refreshing. You can definitely eat this with a lot of rice.

Kale chips have been lingering in my mind for over a week. I have no idea why. I dreamt about it, and I almost heard someone whispering 'kale chips' in my ear one day. I've made beet chips before, and they are very good. Since I was walking by Union Square, I stopped by at one of the stands, and bought two bunches of kale.Kale chips (or any vegetable chips) are so easy to make.

Wash leaves, and make sure they are dry when you use them. Otherwise, they will wilt.

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Coat them with olive oil, and lay them on cookie sheet, again in ONE SINGLE LAYER! Sprinkle salt of your choice. I just used kosher salt. In 350˚F oven, bake them for about nine minutes until crisp. Be careful, it burns very easily.

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Oh Em Gee. These are so good. They are crisp, and salty, and you don't feel guilty about eating ton of them, since it's kale, the most amazing anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-everything vegetable. And it's in the format of a chip--what more could we ask for?!?!?

I couldn't stop eating these, and I literally overdosed on kale chips. I ended up feeling very nauseous, and threw up.

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I still have some, and Nate eats them, but I can't even stand the smell of them. I can't believe this happened. I am not a child who keeps eating the same food until I throw up and can't take any more. I am a middle-aged adult! I clearly still have a lot of growing up to do.

Speaking of overdosing, even as I write this, the thought of kale chips makes me want to throw up.

But they are good, and easy to make.
Column: ReCPY
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8 comments

  • Are the cucumber slices really 2 inches thick? Your pictures look like 1/2 inch, and I bet the size of one’s cucumbers really matters, hmm?

    Dorota on

  • I got lazy with my last batch of kale chips and didn’t cut off the stalks entirely since I hoped they would just shrivel away in the oven. The bad news was that the stalks remained chewy and annoying even shriveled. But it did stop me from eating them all in one go.

    Dorota on

  • I didn’t realise vegetable chips were so easy to make. Even for lazy people. I may have to try them and make some for my nephews.

    sakura on

  • Oops, sorry Dorota, lost in mm—> inch translation. Yes, cukes should be sliced about 1/2 inch thick.

    Let us know how yours turns out!

    Kayoko on

  • Oops, as you said it should be 1/2 inches. Yes it is important to have a thicker slices than usual for this recipe. Thanks for pointing out.

    Yamahomo on

  • Sakura, yes, they are super easy. Beet chips requires mandolin (and possible injury), but kale is a lot easier for lazy people.

    Yoko, let me know if you end up throwing up.

    Yamahomo on

  • I have been so curious about making kale chips too. I had that little elf whispering me in my ear too last year!!! I think I have to step up and do this now that you have made it so easy for us.

    yoko on

  • Yamahomo, our own resident KALE WHISPERER.

    Kayoko on

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